According to the Arthritis Foundation, one in five dogs suffers from arthritis. If your dog has started slowing down on walks, has difficulty getting up and down stairs, they may be suffering from arthritis, which can affect the legs, hips, back and more. As we dog owners, we can look out for symptoms of arthritis.
Common Signs of Arthritis in Dogs
If you notice any of the following symptoms in your dogs, we’d suggest making an appointment with your vet.
Reluctance to Move
Yelping when Touched
Dogs in pain don’t want to be bothered. Your pet may spend more time alone, or stop following you around. Their schedule may change and you find they aren’t right there for a routine walk or play time.
Licking, biting and Chewing
Arthritic dogs often develop muscle atrophy from inactivity.
Arthritis in Dogs Treatment Options
A combination of different types of medications and joint supplements or physical therapy to treat arthritis in dogs is what we recommend to ensure the quality of your dog’s life and successful treatment.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) play a major role in controlling dog joint pain and inflammation, such as Galliprant, Carprofen, and Meloxicam, which are prescrption medications.
Adequan, an FDA-approved series of injections performed by your veterinarian, has shown to help with inflammation and to increase joint lubrication.
Rehabilitation for Arthritis
There’s clinical evidence that acupuncture can reduce chronic dog joint pain.
Water offers several beneficial properties that make hydrotherapy and the underwater treadmill (UWTM) useful in veterinary rehabilitation.
Heat is recommended to reduce muscle spasms and provide a soothing sensation, as well as increase blood flow to an area. If your dog has sore joints, apply heat therapy to the low back or muscles surrounding the affected joint. Please make sure that the temperature will never burn your pet if it’s a DIY heat pack. Heat with infrared light is highly recommended.
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Consider daily exercise in moderation: Start with short walks, up to 10 or 15 minutes, three to four times per day. Warm up their joints and muscles with the heat packs will help our canine friends
Ice is recommended to decrease inflammation following an acute injury or “flare up.” Ice will decrease blood flow to the area and numb the joint to reduce pain. NEVER place an ice pack directly on the skin. Instead, make sure you wrap it in a damp towel or pillowcase.
Oral supplements that contain methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), glucosamine hydrochloride, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids—eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—and chondroitin sulfate are known for supporting dog joint health. However, many supplements can have significant side effects, wreaking havoc on the gastrointestinal tract of our canine friends, so you should consult with your veterinarian before adding them to your dog’s diet.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of slowing disease progression, as excess weight puts more pressure on your dog’s painful joints and can promote inflammation.